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Wednesday 6th November 2013

Warming Up #4000 - Anne Boleyn only managed 1000 days. Take that Necky! And this makes Lady Jane Grey look like a fucking lightweight! I made it to the top of the mountain. Only to discover that there's another peak in the clouds above that stretches on for the REST OF MY LIFE.

It's a polystyrene milestone of course, which is doubly upsetting given how much I hate the noise that that infernal substance makes. And it's mainly terrifying to think that that many days have passed since November 25th 2002 when I got on a tube with some people drinking lager through straws. I was a bit lost and directionless then and I don't feel like that any more and ultimately this blog has led to bigger and better things, but it's taken a lot longer than I might have anticipated and failed to make much of a mark on the world given the sheer volume of guff that I have pumped out of my farting brain via my flatulent fingers.

But I am glad of that. I am glad that my progress has been slow and difficult. I think this has made me a much better writer and a much nicer person than I might have been. I am lucky that I took the path that led from Hercules Terrace, even if I haven't always thought that. And this is an enormously valuable resource for me personally. It doesn't even matter if no one else ever read it (and maybe I should have just kept a diary), but the fact that you were waiting for it (as an imaginary mass rather than real people) was completely necessary to keep it going. If this was a personal diary it would have lasted three weeks. Have we lost or gained 4000 days? At least I have some record of my life, if one that doesn't delve too deeply into what's going on in the more personal aspects of my existence. When I am doing puzzles in that Old Folks' home then I can take some time out and read about things that I've long forgotten, that to be honest, already largely feel like they happened to someone else. My wife tonight said she was so happy with her life that she feared she was in a coma and imagining everything. Whilst I pity her paucity of ambition and easy satisfaction on the husband front, I know what she means. I know for sure that she isn't in a coma (unless we both are and are communicating telepathically) but that won't do for her. She doesnt' trust me in case I am just a dream sprite and pretending. Of course I might be in a coma, but my personal fear is that I am already in an old folk's home, having lost my mind with Alzheimer's like my grandma, and I am just reliving the past, the only stuff I can remember. At least in my version the things I am imagining did once happen. My wife might wake up tomorrow and find all of this has just been a figment of her imagination. At least then I will be able to stop writing the blog though.

And some good news on the world record for longest consecutive daily blog.

Diligent fan and mentalist (he does magic is all I mean) Mike Stoner thinks he has spotted a chink in the armour of longest ever consecutive blogger, Bruce Kimmel. There is no entry for March 11th 2012. Check it out. There is a gaping hole where there should be an entry. You blew it Kimmel. The crown goes to me. Sharp-eyed readers may spot that there are two entries for March 10th 2012 and probably what has happened is Kimmel has mis-labelled one of them and as soon as anyone points this out to him he will go back and correct his error. Yes, I may have only won on a technicality, but that will do for me. I am the best at spewing out unsatisfying blogs on a daily basis. It's not quality that matters, but sheer quantity and the persistence to never, ever fucking accept defeat and realise that people just aren't fucking interested and stop. I am the best at that.

Of course that victory leaves a sour taste in my mouth as I know that that is no victory at all. But I had a heart-warming surprise when I checked my email tonight. Some anonymous benefactor had gone to my half-marathon fund-raising page and donated the £826.59 that takes me up to my £3000 target. And then mentioning that generosity on Twitter prompted a dozen other people to make a donation. Sometimes it feels like I am pissing in the wind with the blog and the podcasts or I feel resentful that my work has not had the recognition that it perhaps deserves (perhaps because it doesn't deserve it), but then I am reminded of how incredible it is to have this band of dedicated followers who like me enough to buy a ticket to my show or make a ridiculously generous gesture like this. And I am just as appreciative of the person who then gave a pound to wreck the round number that the previous donor had coveted. You people are funny and sweet and smart and I'd rather have a superconcentrated tiny amount of you than a sprawling Universe full of idiots. It seemed well-timed, on the eve of me writing this blog which marks success and failure in equal measure in some ways. I am happy to write this for nothing - I get enough ideas out of it to fuel my paid work. I don't know how many people read it, but in a way it doesn't matter. The potential that it might be read is what makes it happen and I reap the rewards when I can turn an idea into a routine or article or occasionally even a book. But if you have enjoyed the last 4000 days, or even some of them and would like to pay me about 3p a month for it, then why not join all those kind and sweet people who've helped me hit that target and give Scope £4. Or more or less. But if even 100 of the maybe 3000 people who read this gave £4 then it would make a tremendous difference. If all 3000 of you did it (if there are that many) it would be even better. Plus the thousands of idiot audiophiles who listen to me grumpily reading it out. If you've enjoyed the ride and want to help me feel that I am not shouting into a vaccuum the page is here.

Whatever though, thanks for being there, even as an imaginary amorphous mass. I couldn't have done it without what I imagine is you, which isn't actually you. So you can't take any of the credit.

And whilst I didn't get any more work done on the script for Meaning of Life (I have to write a new 15 minute set for a gig I am doing tomorrow and I did manage to complete the lyrics to the theme song, which I've now handed over to Christian Reilly to write the music), I did put together a press release today, which gives a bit of a better idea of what I am planning. A few people have asked if I have considered a kickstarter to pay for the show. But I feel a bit uneasy about that. Partly because between us gofasterstripe and me already have the money to make this. We can't really afford to lose it all, but neither are we broke. And whilst kickstarter seems like a good idea for people who have nothing to get things going with, it just feels a bit off for relatively affluent people to ask less affluent people for money for what might end up being a vanity project. I know that the people who would put money into kickstart will almost certainly find some way to pay me for the project anyway (by buying a ticket or a DVD or an extended download). I considered charging people to pay to get their name in the credits, but similarly then thought why should they? This is my thing. And I am the one who will profit if it works on any level. Also if it doesn't work on any level and I haven't charged anyone anything then no one can complain if we just stop doing them.

This way people get to judge it for what it is and then if they want to see more will have to find some way to contribute. Because I can take this kind of hit once, but I don't have the resources to keep failing. It's an all or nothing shot!

Here's the press release:


Richard Herring's Meaning of Life

Having already side-stepped the restrictions of commissioners, producers and censors in his ground-breaking and award winning podcasts, Richard Herring is making the ambitious move to make his own filmed stand-up series.
Recorded monthly at the Leicester Square Theatre in London, each episode will tackle one of the big questions of life: Is there a God? What happens to us when we die? Why are we here? Do good and evil exist and which is best?
Not only will he create taboo-busting, outrageous, thoughtful and intelligent stand-up comedy on each subject, he will also attempt to provide some genuine answers to the greatest philosophical conundrums of all time. Each show will include an interview with an expert in that month’s subject (where Herring dares to ask the kind of questions that no one else would think of, let alone express) and an animated sketch.
Having tackled big subjects in his stand-up shows, “Hitler Moustache”, “Christ on a Bike”, “Talking Cock” and the forthcoming, “We’re All Going To Die!” Herring is no stranger to controversy or the impact of using comedy to discuss important and difficult issues and as there are no schedulers involved the shows can last as long as he wishes. It’s an exciting new direction for comedy – a top stand up given the autonomy to produce whatever he wishes with no interference. So come and see it live to see all the stuff that will hit the cutting room floor and to join in with the fun and maybe help us come up with some answers. And if all goes to plan by the end of the series the meaning of life will be revealed.
You don’t get that with Paddy McGuinness.
EPISODE 1 - Creation. With guest, physicist Marcus Chown.

Where did the Universe come from? Are we just characters in a video game? Did God instigate a cover up in the Genesis version of creation? Was Adam suspicious of God's motivations when he gave him a paradise to live in? Does time move more slowly if you spend it with your relatives? 

Richard will discuss science’s view of creation with renowned physicist Marcus Chown. As well as trying to explain the physics of creation and the remarkable manner in which scientists have worked out how the Universe originated, Marcus will have to deal with less orthodox questions like:

How loud was the Big Bang? Louder or less loud than a paper bag bursting? What did the Big Bang smell like? Is it possible that rather than a big bang that all the galaxies were converging towards each other and narrowly missed and are now flying away from each other? Could the big bang have been caused, as the ancient Egyptians believed, by the God Atum ejaculating? What was there before the big bang and where did whatever that was come from and if you can’t tell us that, then frankly what’s the point?

The show will be recorded in front of an audience with tickets at just £10. You’ll be able to see all the cock-ups and extra material that doesn’t make it into the final show (because it is too rubbish) whilst helping to fund this over ambitious project – You can buy tickets here.

The show is being filmed by Go Faster Stripe who already have a rich catalogue of DVDs for sale from some of the world’s most interesting comedians. They have also filmed the last two series of the award winning Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, which is available for paid download on the go faster stripe website.

It has still not been decided how Meaning of Life will be released. The six episode series will be made for an estimated budget of £20,000. Herring’s inclination is to put out an audio and video version of the show for free, perhaps charging a small fee for an extended video download. He also plans to release the series on DVD when it is completed. He says, “It is hard to work out the best way to proceed. Is it preferable to make my money back by charging my fans to see the show, or is it better to put the series out for free in the hope that more people see it. In the past my free podcasts have brought a new audience to my live shows and increased sales of DVDs of previous shows. Obviously in this case it will take me some time to write and learn each show and there are a lot more expenses than in an audio podcast, which I can produce for practically no money. But it’s an exciting opportunity to experiment with what is possible in this new medium. Having already successfully competed with BBC radio comedy shows and won a Sony award for my Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, I am keen to see if I can produce something which will stand up against TV comedy shows, at a fraction of the budget. A part of me wonders if I should try to attract a sponsor to fund the series, but another part of me thinks that it would be great if it could remain independent and survive on the good will of the people who enjoy it, paying for a download or buying a ticket to my tour show or another DVD. In this way the public can become commissioners, voting with their wallets. And all without the rigmarole, focus groups and jumping through hoops that comes with trying to get a project on to TV. A full theatre would give the project an enormous boost, so it would be terrific if people came along to the Leicester Square Theatre on 17th November to see the first one recorded.”

 



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